Good News, You're Not Infringing Copyrights When Your Ringtone Goes Off

Funny thing about ringtones: A royalty's paid every time one's downloaded, but the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers wanted royalties paid every time one is played, claiming that it's a public performance. A federal judge says nope.

Interestingly, some ringtone services actually did pay performance royalties at one point. US District Court Judge Denise Cote ruled against the ASCAP, saying that "when a ringtone plays on a cellular telephone, even when that occurs in public, the user is exempt from copyright liability, and [the cellular carrier] is not liable either secondarily or directly."

I'm sure the music industry will find some other reason to sue somebody else next week, don't worry. [EFF via Ars]